X-Men Origins: Wolverine Movie Poster Image

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

More brutal action than in earlier X-Men films.
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 107 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The messages are a little mixed. Although the film's ultimate message is that mercy is better than vengeance and that human beings and mutants can make the choice not to kill, this realization comes after a lot of people (and mutants) are killed. Teens are taken captive to participate in medical experiments.

Positive role models

Wolverine steps up and becomes a leader.


Frequent, brutal comic-book violence, as well as real-world shootings, stabbings, and more. There's not a whole lot of blood (most of the mutants are indestructible), but characters are beaten, blown up, shot in the head, slashed with swords/claws, and impaled with blades/claws. There are human casualties, including characters who are close to Wolverine. A decapitated animal is seen, and there's another bloodless, special-effects decapitation. There's also war violence (from the Civil War to the Vietnam era) and vivid, graphic medical/experimentation imagery.


A committed couple cuddles and makes out. A young woman is seen being abducted by a soldier, presumably for sexual purposes, but he's interrupted. Nude male buttocks are shown in an action-scene context.


Occasional strong language includes "screwed," "s--t," "bulls--t," "damn, "a--hole," "hell," "ass," "oh my God," and "goddamn."


Tie-in to vast quantities of related merchandise. A few minimally visible brands, including Everlast, Budweiser, and Chevrolet. The film is being extensively cross-marketed, including a "Got Milk?" ad.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

An unlit cigar is chewed on and then shot out of a character's mouth. Characters drink beer and hard liquor.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that X-Men Origins: Wolverine isn't as tween-friendly as the earlier X-Men movies. Although many of the mutants are pretty indestructible, the action in this comic book prequel is still bloodier than in the previous films, thanks to the fact that much of it is carried out with the slashing edge of a claw, talon, or blade. There's also war violence, gunplay, a decapitated animal, and scary/grisly images of medical experiments, as well as kids being taken captive. Also expect mild male nudity (non-sexual shot of bare buttocks), and some drinking and swearing ("s--t" is as strong as it gets).

What's the story?

Set before the events of the X-Men franchise, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE tells the story of Hugh Jackman's quick-healing, metal-clawed superhuman superhero (aka Logan), from fighting wars to joining a special superhuman dirty tricks group; from walking away in disgust to coming back for vengeance. Wolverine's old employer, Col. William Stryker (Danny Huston), offers him the medical-scientific upgrades to make his revenge possible, but Wolverine learns that it's all part of a much bigger plan to make an ultimate killing machine that Stryker can pit against all mutantkind. Can Wolverine -- who stands alone -- step up, be a leader, and save the day?

Is it any good?


Much like the over-stuffed, over-done X-Men: The Last Stand, this is a fairly bloated film with too many characters, too much comic book trivia, and, ironically, not enough Wolverine. "More" in this case doesn't mean "better"; here, it's simply too much, with supporting characters crowding out the lead.

The action scenes are acceptable, even though X-Men Origins: Wolverine doesn't do much with its '70s setting (since the only time-setting plot point is the Three Mile Island disaster, it's not always clear when all this is happening). Jackman has a real charm and a sly sense of humor; regrettably, the film doesn't give him much to do with either of them. And while Huston and co-star Liev Schreiber are charismatic in their bad-guy roles, the fact that the film bypasses them in favor of a silent, speechless ultimate bad guy detracts from their work. Wolverine feels like it was produced by people who were more interested in making money and selling toys than they were in telling a coherent, fun story, and the film suffers for it.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether the violence in X-Men Origins: Wolverine has more impact than that of the earlier X-Men movies. Why or why not? 

  • How are Wolverine's fights different than those of characters with different powers/abilities? Is he comfortable with his strength? How does he control it?

  • The film seems to be saying that you can make the choice to not kill an enemy -- but is that message clear amid the high body count?

  • Discuss the appeal of comic book movies. Why do audiences like them so much?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 1, 2009
DVD/Streaming release date:September 15, 2009
Cast:Danny Huston, Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber
Director:Gavin Hood
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Run time:107 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:intense sequences of action and violence, and some partial nudity

This review of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Ratings

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate.

Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 11 year old Written byNops May 7, 2009

This is not a Superman movie...

The X-Men franchise may contain super-heroes, but one must understand that the characters are more emotionally complex than most other super-hero movies. Within their "mutant" identities we see X-Men and other mutants come to terms with prejudice, assimilation, and exploitation. This is not Superman. Kids familiar with the comic will know more what to expect from this movie and will likely not be disappointed. You might want to consider weather your 10-13 year-old child is ready to understand these types of topics before letting them see this. In this movie we learn the source of Wolverine's post-traumatic stress disorder and the variables that fuel his general distrust for relationships. The war scenes are brief, but very suggestive of the horrid violence and mindless killing that can come with war. Wolverine is a complicated character-- more so than Batman or other Superhero movies we have seen recently. This movie shows us why he struggles with identity issues above and beyond simple memory loss. Make sure your kid can grasp these concepts or for them it will just be another action flick of mindless killing and revenge.
Parent of a 5, 10, and 13 year old Written byshadowfc September 30, 2009

Too much of this, that, and the other

I've started reviewing movies here primarily because my 13 year old is the trend setter of the family. I have two younger daughters and would never let them watch this movie. My oldest loves superheroes and has seen most of the Heroes episodes, which has far more blood than this movie. She has also seen the other Xmen movies, but I ultimately decided not to let her watch this movie just yet based on the level of constant violence, sex, and adult language. The language is just over the edge with many of the expletives described above. One or two is my limit, but I particularly draw the line when the hero uses this language consistently. Sexual content is another sensitive subject for my family - and this again was a bit too much. Wolverine is shown completely naked in an extended scene (but he's much too far away to make out any parts). He is shown in bed with a woman he is clearly not married to and they have many intimate kissing scenes. The clencher is the violence. As described, it is non-stop. Shooting, impalings, beheadings... it just goes on and on. It's just too much for a young teen. I also agree that the violence washes down any positive messages, so I'm not including those in my review. While I, personally, enjoyed the movie - it was not my favorite of the series. My vote is to wait a few years for my oldest to see, so I'm voting this movie OK for 15 and over.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent Written byobnoxiousm September 10, 2010
Let me just say that I'm an adult horror fan, I tend to laugh at horror movies and the violence here was a bit much for me. This stuff passes for normal nowadays and your older teen, if they watch action movies, can probably handle it. The deaths of characters who aren't basically immortal are handled very seriously, and a lot of the misbehavior (specifically the violence and drug use) is shown with two basically immortal guys who cannot die. Why would they not smoke and drink? It won't kill them. In that sense it's a bit less harmful than other characters. That's why I have little moral issue with the violence and drinking here, but do think it should be saved for older kids who can grasp that they have nothing in common with Wolverine. And yet there is moral stuff here. This movie is about Wolverine developing a conscience. That's a pretty good idea. Wolverine's girlfriend always tries to find non-violent solutions to problems, again acting as a sort of conscience. The characters who try to fight, aside from Wolverine, get killed in various ways. It's not a broad, anti-fighting movie. It's personal, nuanced, more provocative of discussion than any specific outcome. Perfect for older kids who need to find their own moral compasses through discussion anyway. In terms of the actual movie, it's kinda slow and confusing. I'm a casual X-men fan and I had to watch with about six wikipedia tabs open. Well produced, decent CG (and I hate CG, so that says something), great acting from Jackman and the lady who played Wolvie's girlfriend. Ryan Renolds is a show stealer, and that rapper guy was... surprisingly decent.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages